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RATINGS: 1821   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.54   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 165   ABV: 5.5%
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COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
This is our special ale from the brewers at Anchor. It is sold only from early November to mid-January. The Ale’s recipe is different every year, but the intent with which we offer it remains the same: joy and celebration of the newness of life. Since ancient times, trees have symbolized the winter solstice when the earth, with its seasons appears born anew.

Editor’s Note: due to the significant similarity in style and strength from year to year (despite potential differences in the exact spice blend), this beer is no longer separated by vintage.


3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
BMan1113VR (7834) - Los Angeles, California, USA - DEC 6, 2007
UPDATED: NOV 26, 2009 2007 vintage in a magnum bottle. A very good tasting extremely dark ale with a very large brown head. Medium to full bodied with a short duration. Aroma is very fresh, with possibly some pine scents. Very much different from Anchor’s other products.
Dec 6, 2007.
Ar: 7; AP: 2; F: 8; P: 4; O: 14
Total Score: 3.5/5.0

2005 Vinatge. Waited too long on this one. Mar 3, 2008. Pours with a light brown, creamy, head that lasts. Murky brown body. Aroma of soy, madera, and prunes. Alcohol legs on the glass. Taste is way too oxidized. Sat for too long. Creamy mouthfeel, with some fizz left. Bitter and very very oxidized.
Ar: 6; AP: 4; F: 5; P: 3; O: 12
Total Score: 3.0/5.0

2006 Vintage. This one was waited on for too long. Pours with a decent sized, light brown, foamy head covering a hazy dark brown body. Aroma has elements of oxidation, figs, plums, yeast, cinnamon, and vanilla. Taste is salty, smokey and oxidized. Over the hill in a baby SA Triple Bock sort of way. I am disapointed because this one looked and smelled quite good. I guess I know that these will not last much longer than a year (low alcohol I guess). Too bad.
April 21, 2008.
Ar: 7; AP: 4; F: 5; P: 3; O: 12
Total Score: 3.1/5.0

2008 vintage. November 16, 2008. Bottle marked 803. Pours a deep mahogoney with a fluffy light brown head. Good lacing and retention. Aroma of allspice, cinnamon, pine, molassas, caramel and maple. Taste is spiced with some tabbacco, allspice, caramel, plenty of hazlenuts, and bitter molassas. Creamy mouthfeel, light bubbles, slightly warming. Good winter warmer.
Ar: 7; AP: 4; F: 7; P: 4; O: 15;
Total Score: 3.7/5.0
2009 had a bit more of a twang to it.

3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
JorisPPattyn (7809) - Antwerpen, BELGIUM - OCT 10, 2007
2006 vintage, from a shelf in my cellar, generous donator unknown but thanked Huge, darker beige head, creamy, over fully dark-opaque, red-shot brown beer. Spicy nose; roasted grains or roasted (sweetish) multi-grains bread. Resins and rosemary, cloves, meatgravy aromas. Roasted taste as roasted coffee, breadcrust and walnutpeel. Flavours of clove or allspice and liquorice. Ends pretty dry - spicy/bitterish, near tartness. Restsugars all but gone. Rather well-bodied, neither slick nor chewy. Some discreet alcohol. Decent spicy winter ale, not too sweet, but not too special neither. Bit roasted-roasty...

3.5
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Rune (7775) - Tromsø, NORWAY - DEC 20, 2006
355ml bottle, vintage 2005, bought at Ølbutikken in Copenhagen a year ago. I suppose one year aging in the cellar has enhanced the flavour. Pours a yellow-brownish head over a deep, rusty brown body. The smell is rather weak but dark fruit offset by vanilla can be detected. Rich and complex taste of aniseed, dark malty sweetness, black coffee and spicies (a pepper note). The beer finishes off with crisply bitterness. Medium palate (20.12.2006).

3.8
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Quack-Duck (7773) - Down South, GERMANY - AUG 5, 2009
bottle, vintage 2007, mit Dank ins Ruhrgebiet! Dark red-brown colour, large beige head. Fruity nose. Intensively malty with lots of fruit flavours: berries, plums, blackcurrant. Bitter-sweet with lovely citrusy hops that add flavours of bitter orange marmalade. Lingering finish. Delicious!

3.8
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
MartinT (7746) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - DEC 9, 2005
The Lure:
Embedded star anise tries to rise above the rooty cola reminiscence. Roasted malts play a second-tier role, but with the prevalent sweetness creates stout-like passages. Sturdy conifer needles point their way once in a while.

The Festivities:
Prominent earthiness, tree root and bark surround themselves with roasted molasses and a plethora of blackberries and mushy blueberries.Their union is balanced in an ample but easy to digest body. Negligible dryness and bitterness appear in the finale; this is unique stuff as always.

Transcendence:
Nicely laid out ornaments do enliven the atmosphere.

3.8
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
DocLock (7729) - Lower Pottsgrove, Pennsylvania, USA - JAN 23, 2006
Draft at the Drafting Room. This one pours dep brown. The aroma was chocolatey and spicy, with a gingerbready malt presence. The flavor was like minty, spicy chocolate chip cookie dough dipped in molasses, then pureed. Well done, as usual from these guys.

2.6
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 10/20
gnoff (7671) - Mölndal, SWEDEN - NOV 6, 2006
UPDATED: FEB 2, 2014 First rating
Initial Rating Date: 11/6/2006
330 ml bottle at Haket, Göteborg.
2006 Christmas ale.
Ruby red color, tan head. Spicy clove scent. Taste is clove and lots of spicy malts. Low bitterness.
8/4/7/3/14=3.6

Second rating
UPDATED 11/19/2006
Bottle
Vinous a bit minty, strong sugary smell. Deep ruby red color, tan head. A bit fruity taste, thin and boring, vinous. No bitterness. Just plain too boring.
5/3/5/2/9=2.4

Rerate
On tap as part of a flight at Brewer’s Tasting Room, St. Pete, FL, on January 22, 2014.
Clear very dark red color, light brown head. Sweet, spicy taste. Tart, dry aftertaste. Thin mouthfeel, low bitterness. Sweet scent, a bit spicy.
5/4/5/2/10=2.6

3.4
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
jercraigs (7638) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - DEC 31, 2005
UPDATED: JAN 8, 2009 2008-12-06. Dark brown body with a modest khaki head. (3+) Sweet malt aroma, spice is well rounded, nutmeg? (7+) Sweetish flavour has a malty base, nutmeg, spice. (7+) Average plus palate. (3+) Pretty much how I remembered it from previous years! 7+/3+/7+/3+/15-16 = 3.5 <i>2008 Vintage. On tap at Coles, Buffalo</i>

2006 Vintage. Bottle at Volo. Very dark brown-black body with a smallish creamy tan head (3+). Spicy (nutmeg, cinnamon) and sweet malt in the aroma. Flavour is similar to aroma, with the addition of ovaltine/cocoa notes. Nutmeg, very light anise, sweet malt middle. Average palate. Pleasant, but as always with this one I find it hard to wrap my palate around the melange of spice flavours. 7/3+/3/7/14 - 3.4 <P> 2005 Vintage. December 2005. Draft @ Coles in Buffalo. Black body with small creamy tan head. (3+) Sweet malt with abundant but mild spice notes in the aroma. Flavour has lots of nutmeg and something I called anise that may or may not be. Mild nutty notes at some points. Plenty of malt throughout. I enjoyed this a bit more than previous years, but there is still something unharmonious about the whole package that detracts from it for my tastes.6/4/6/3/14 - 3.3

3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Dogbrick (7634) - Columbus, Ohio, USA - JUL 3, 2006
UPDATED: NOV 19, 2008 <b>2005 Magnum:</b> Deep dark brown color with a little red around the edges, with a thick beige head that retains well. Patchy lacing. Aroma of malt and pine, as well as some dark fruits. Pleasant flavor of roasted malts, spices (ginger mostly), and pine. The finish is spicy with some hops and a bit of chocolate. Solid, as with pretty much every year. It doesn’t seem like Anchor ever does anything too drastic to the recipe but that is fine.

<b>2006 Bottle:</b> This year’s version (sampled Oct 2007) is a dark reddish-brown color with a medium light beige head that dissipates pretty quickly. Speckled lacing. Spicy, malty aroma with some herbs. Medium, smooth body with nutmeg, fruit and earthy malt flavors. The finish is mildly spiced and short. Not quite as good as the previous year but still enjoyable. .

<b>2007 Bottle:</b> This year’s version (sampled Feb 2008) is dark mahogany with a thick beige head that lasts awhile. Pine and spices in the nose. Medium-bodied and smooth with pine, herbal hops and spice flavors. The finish is moderately bitter hops and leaves a dark fruit and spice aftertaste. Par for the course with previous years. .

<b>2008 Bottle:</b> Sample at the holiday beer tasting at Blacklick Wine & Spirits on 11/13/08. Pours dark brown with a medium khaki head that diminishes slowly. Stringy lacing. Aroma of malt and circus peanuts, plus some pine. Medium body with flavors of sweet malt and pine along with ginger and cinnamon. The finish is lightly spiced with a sweet aftertaste. Seems to have fallen off compared to past years.

3.2
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 13/20
Benzai (7287) - Oirschot, THE NETHERLANDS, NETHERLANDS - JUN 18, 2011
Small bottle (with 2010 on it), shared with Drebus. Great color, dark with a deep-red glow. Makes you feel warm in cold days just by looking at it. Smelling it is completely different though. I smelled pepper! On first notive the taste is good, light bitter, but the aftertaste is pepper again, and that is somethibng I do not want to taste in my beer.


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